Salvete omnes! The Iota chapter of the University of Vermont comprises the core of the larger campus classics club, and we have had an especially busy and engaging year in 2014-15. While each semester featured a highlighted marquee event (a field trip to the MFA in Boston in the fall and the 39th Annual Vermont Latin Day in the spring), the calendar was full with numerous guest speakers and activities both academic and social.
In the fall, we kicked off the new academic year with a series of classically-themed movie nights. We also hosted a study abroad information night, in which students who had been abroad were able to present their experiences and answer questions from students who were interested in pursuing classics-centered study abroad options. Fall guest speakers were Professor Armand D’Angour of Oxford on ancient music and musician Joe Goodkin performing his modern folk opera interpretation of Homer’s Odyssey. Iota chapter also took part in an undergraduate performance of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata under the tutelage of several of the UVM classics faculty. The highlight of the fall term was a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in conjunction with the UVM Department of Art and Art History; while there, we visited the renovated ancient art exhibits while Professor Bill Mierse shared his expertise with detailed gallery lectures.
In the spring, Iota chapter hosted a full slate of lectures by both resident faculty and visiting scholars: topics included an introduction to ancient Egypt by Professor Brian Walsh, the reception of the labyrinth myth in modern film by Professor Angeline Chiu, ancient Greek ideas of sustainability by Professor Mark Usher, a detailed excavation report of Kenchreai, Greece, by Professor Joe Rife of Vanderbilt, and mythology, poetry, and applications in modern medicine by Dr. Page Hudson, MD, of the University of Vermont College of Medicine. We also hosted two interactive workshops: one in ancient linguistics by Jesse Lundquist of UCLA/Harvard and one in Akkadian (complete with cuneiform writing practice) by Sam Mirelman of NYU. (Iota chapter would like to report, incidentally, that in the absence of real clay tablets, trays of peanut butter fudge work rather well, and at the end everyone could literally eat their words. Each student also used a stylus handmade by Professor Jacques Bailly.) The highlight of the spring term was the 39th Annual Vermont Latin Day, which Iota chapter helped to host along with the Department of Classics as a whole. Some dozen Vermont high schools and 800 Latin students gathered in Patrick Gym on UVM campus for a day of Latin competitions and activities. Our special guests this year were state senator Joe Benning of Caledonia-Orange, sponsor of the bill (S.2) to give Vermont a Latin motto, Stella quarta decima fulgeat (“May the Fourteenth Star Shine Bright”) and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who concluded this year’s Latin Day celebrations by signing the Latin motto bill into law. See news links below:
Iota chapter concluded the spring semester by inducting 16 more members.